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Tag Archives: John Henry Newman

CONSCIENCE CARRIES WITH IT ITS PROOF OF ITS DIVINE ORIGIN

A mere law of nature?

“I feel myself in his presence. He says to me, ‘Do this: don’t do that’. You may tell me that this dictate is a mere law of my nature, as is to joy or to grieve. No, it is the echo of a person speaking to me. Nothing shall persuade me that it does not ultimately proceed from a person external to me. It carries with it its proof of its divine origin. My nature feels towards it as towards a person. When I obey it, I feel a satisfaction; when I disobey, a soreness – just like that which I feel in pleasing or offending some revered friend.”

– Bl. John Henry Newman, A description of Conscience. Call., 314

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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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MARY IS EXALTED FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS

“Mary is exalted for the sake of Jesus. It was fitting that she, as being a creature, though the first of creatures, should have an office of ministration. She, as others, came into the world to do a work, she had a mission to fulfil; her grace and her glory are not for her own sake, but for her Maker’s; and to her is committed the custody of the Incarnation… her glories and the devotion paid her proclaim and define the right faith concerning him as God and man.”

– Bl. John Henry Newman; Mary is the Mother of God. Christ is God, who has become man. Mix., 348-49

 

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THERE IS BUT ONE LOVER OF SOULS, JESUS CHRIST

Undying Love

“There is but one Lover of souls,’ cried Caecilius, ‘and he loves each one of us, as though there were no one else to love.

He died for each one of us, as if there were no one else to die for. He died on the shameful cross… The love which he inspires lasts, for it is the love of the unchangeable. It satisfies, for he is inexhaustible. The nearer we draw to him, the more triumphantly does he enter into us; the longer he dwells in us, the more intimately we have possession of him. It is an espousal for eternity.”

– Bl. John Henry Newman, May nothing separate me from the love of Christ, Call., 222

 

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IT IS THE DEATH OF THE WORD MADE FLESH WHICH IS OUR GREAT LESSON OF THIS WORLD

“It is the death of the Eternal Word of God made flesh, which is our great lesson how to think and how to speak of this world.

His Cross has put its due value upon everything which we see, upon all fortunes, all advantages, all ranks, all dignities, all pleasures; upon the list of the flesh, and the list of the eyes, and the pride of life… Go to the political world… to the world of intellect and science… look at misery, look at poverty and destitution, look at oppression and captivity; go where food is scanty and lodging unhealthy… Would you know how to rate all these? Gaze upon the Cross.”

– Bl. John Henry Newman, We now learn the true values, P.S. VI, 84-86

 

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SPIRITUAL AND INTELLECTUAL ARTILLERY TO DEFEND THE FAITH

“Five hundred years ago this month, our holy father St Philip Neri was born in the early hours of 22nd July, the feast of St Mary Magdalene. Just hours later the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity were infused into his soul in Baptism. In the wretched heat and humidity that afflict Florence in high summer it was prudent to administer the Sacrament without delay.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed

Our Lord tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard which when it is sown is the tiniest seed in the field, but when grown it becomes a tree in the branches of which the birds of the air come and make their nests. The seed that was planted in St Philip’s heart in the famous Baptistery of St John, and which germinated and took root during his childhood in Florence, would eventually flourish into a mighty tree in Rome. His own room was the nest (he actually called it his ‘nido’) in which the fledgling first Oratory would become the base for an apostolic mission that would earn him the glorious title Apostle of Rome.

The purpose of an Oratory in the plan of salvation

As other Oratories began to be established, it was St Philip’s wish that each house remain autonomous, and this status is preserved to this day in the Church’s law. Nevertheless, every Oratory is to be like a branch that stems from and is animated by that supernatural life that was nurtured in St Philip’s ‘nido’ half a millennium ago. The purpose of an Oratory in the plan of salvation is to give encouragement and direction to anyone who seeks spiritual refreshment in the shade of its bough. An Oratory is supposed to provide a spiritual home, usually in an urban context, in which friendship with Our Saviour is nurtured under the gentle guidance of St Philip and the protection of Our Lady.

…where friendship with Our Saviour is nurtured

Mention of the Counter Reformation conjures up images of the Church rolling out all the engines of war. Established religious orders were to be reformed or suppressed; new congregations would be equipped with spiritual and intellectual artillery to defend the Faith and reclaim territories lost to schism. Jesuits were to be deployed around Europe to engage heretics in public dispute, or despatched to risk life and limb recruiting converts from the heathen New World. In contrast to this, St Philip’s mission within the Church Militant took place entirely on the home front. In the words of Bl. John Henry Newman, ‘He put away from him monastic rule and authoritative speech as David refused the armour of his king… His weapons should be but unaffected humility and unpretending love. All he did was to be done by the light and fervour and convincing eloquence of his personal character and his easy conversation. He came to the Eternal City and he sat himself down there, and his home and his family gradually grew up around him.” In other words, it was through personal contact and friendship that St Philip contributed to the success of the Catholic Reformation.

The Christian/spiritual meaning of friendship

Under the tyranny of sentimentalism that reigns supreme today, there is a danger that friendship can take on a shallow meaning and be understood mainly in terms of feelings and utility. To understand how friendship was so effective in St Philip’s apostolate, it is necessary to appreciate the classical and Christian traditions in which he had been formed by the Dominicans at San Marco, and through his later studies in Rome. In the Aristotelian understanding, friendship is a ‘settled disposition’ – a habit, based on virtue. It involves the recognition of an intrinsic good in the other, and a reciprocated commitment to serve that good and make it flourish. In a truly virtuous friendship, the parties will also work together for the common good. Whereas for Aristotele such friendship is only possible between equals (he said that the one good we must never desire for our friends is that they become gods because if our wish were fulfilled then we should immediately forfeit their friendship), St Thomas Aquinas’s teaching on Sanctifying Grace makes even friendship with God a reality, because God actually shares His Divine Life with us through Baptism.

The infectious spirit of generosity and charity

Saint Philip excelled in making men’s hearts receptive to this vocation to live as friends with God. His joyful influence fostered an ambience in which his spiritual children found pleasure in each other’s company and came to assist each other in living virtuously. A shy cobbler whom St Philip spotted sitting at the back of the Oratory was summoned to the front and hugged like a long-lost child returning to a family that included cardinals and princes. A watch-seller on the verge of bankruptcy found himself suddenly overwhelmed by eager customers at the Oratory, where St Philip’s friends had been primed to come to his assistance. This infectious spirit of generosity and charity was fostered by visits to attend to the poor in the Roman hospitals. Even those who came to the Oratory with unworthy motives were eventually captivated by the ‘Winning Saint’, and some found themselves taking Holy Orders or religious vows as a result.

This school of Christian friendship was the magnificent mustard tree which developed from that seed of the Kingdom planted in St Philip’s heart at his Baptism on 22nd July 1515. By his intercession, and under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin, may it continue to flourish in the Oratory today and in the years to come.”

– From: “The Oratory Parish Magazine – From the Provost”, London Oratory, Vol. 92, No. 1130 (subheadings in bold added afterwards)

 

 

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WITHOUT FAITH, EVERY HUMAN LABOUR IS EMPTY

“Jesus says to his friends in the boat who were terrified at the storm, ‘How is it that you have no faith?’ Let us prayerfully reflect on what some holy people have written about faith:

• Faith is the ear of the soul. (St Clement of Alexandria)

• Just as the mere memory of fire does not warm the body, so also faith without love doesn’t produce the light of knowledge in the soul. (St Maximus the Confessor)

• Without faith, every human labour is empty. (St Fulgence of Ruspe)

• I may love by halves, I may obey by halves; I cannot believe by halves: either I have faith, or I have it not. (Blessed John Henry Newman)

• The spiritual quest is a continuous act of faith, a faith that spiritual experience is the most real thing in human life and that all other categories of experience are subordinate to the fact of God. (Martin Israel – priest and spiritual director)

• Faith is the union of God with the soul. (St John of the Cross)

• What is required of you is faith and a sincere life, not loftiness and intellect of deep knowledge of the mysteries of God. (Thomas a Kempis – spiritual writer)

• Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe. (St Augustine of Hippo)

• Faith is a beam radiating from the face of God. (St John Dudes)

• God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ increase us in faith and truth and gentleness. (Prayer of St Polycarp)”

– From: “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris” / June 2015

 

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“I AM CONTEMPLATING CATHOLICISM… AS A MORAL DUTY” (BL. JOHN HENRY NEWMAN)

“A mere shadow, as dust and ashes”

“The Church aims, not at making a show, but at doing a work. She regards this world, and all that is in it, as a mere shadow, as dust and ashes, compared with the value of one single soul. She holds that, unless she can, in her own way, do good to souls, it is no use her doing anything; she holds that it were better for sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions who are upon it to die of starvation in extremest agony, so far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, though it harmed no one, or steal one poor farthing without excuse.” (Deliberately to offend God is the greatest of all evils; Diff. I, 239-40)

I am contemplating Catholicism… as a moral duty

I am contemplating Catholicism, chiefly as a system of pastoral instruction and moral duty; and I have to do with its doctrines mainly as they are subservient to its direction of the conscience and the conduct. I speak of it, for instance, as teaching the ruined state of man; his utter inability to gain Heaven by anything he can do himself; the moral certainty of his losing his soul if left to himself; the simple absence of all rights and claims on the part of the creature in the presence of the Creator; the illimitable claims of the Creator on the service of the creature; the imperative and obligatory force of the voice of conscience; and the inconceivable evil of sensuality.” (Apart from me you can do nothing”; Idea, 133)

– Bl. John Henry Newman

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Words of Wisdom

 

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